Pond Boss
Posted By: Mark Dyer Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 07/26/21 02:24 PM
Our pond which is 26 acres has some issues. We have gizzard shad and common carp and buffalo carp, we are trying to keep them in check. Due to the gizzard shad and over population of catfish our bluegill numbers are just ok with no upper size class as biggest sampled was 7” and few in the 1-3” range. LMB population is relatively low with few in the under 8” size range but good size in upper size classes by length. Relative weights could be better. Crappie are doing well and catfish are all over. The company who shocked recommends to help control carp and shad with stocking walleye or hybrid striped bass in any combination of up to 10 per acre per year and possibly stocking some tiger musky 1-2 per acre. My personal thoughts are the HSB may be more useful than walleye for controlling the shad and small carp but would like to have an opinion from more experienced pond mnagers. Also I think 2 dozen tiger Muskie would also benefit as when they get bigger they can predate on the larger shad. Both the Muskie and HSB should help control crappie as well. He also recommended possibly stocking more small LMB due to low numbers of that size but have no quantity recommendation. Anyone have any thoughts on which fish would be most benefitial and in what quantities for that size of lake. Not much structure or vegetation on this Old sandpit as it’s surrounded by houses. Advice/thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks
Posted By: esshup Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/08/21 05:18 AM
You could also put a larger mesh gill net in there. Just be sure to run it 2x day and remove any fish that you want to keep in the lake. Removing them quickly from the gill net shouldn't harm them.
HSB and Tiger Muskie would be an awesome combination! Neither reproduce much or at all in ponds, so you don't have to worry about them taking over. Tiger Muskie in particular get big enough to put a hurting on even big gizzard shad.
Posted By: ewest Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/08/21 04:10 PM
Agree with esshup - run a net to start removing unwanted fish. Shock boat will work also. You would need some very big predators to eat these GShad


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Attached File
cid_image002.jpg  (432 downloads)
Attached File
cid_image001.gif  (420 downloads)
We experience this fishery type in sandpits near rivers in NE which have historically flooded. HSB and BC are our most effective tools to help manage Gshd. BC will actively pursue Gshd schools and their gape allows them to target adults. HSB will also hammer schools but due to more limited gape will focus on smaller fish. I would recommend 10-15/ac on HSB annual ladder stocking and 5/ac for BC. TM are ambush predators I believe they’d serve as a less effective management tool and would also inhabit similar habitat as your BG and LMB - both species you’d likely prefer not to be diminished through predation.

I agree that gill netting as many adult invasive species is a great strategy - no predator present is going to take down a 15# Buffalo, carp, or gar. If you employ periodic gill netting in addition to supplemental stocking of specific predators I think you can experience a level of management and add a couple fun species for angling. It’s essential to record WR of both species in order to determine stocking strategy in the future. IE: if all HSB exhibit WR 110+ you could elect to bump your annual stocking qty - inverse is likewise applicable of course.

I would also spend some time focusing on adding some structure to the lake to enable your BG and LMB populations to benefit. Groups of 4-5 cedars weighted with a cinder block in 3-6’ is cheap and easy. Ping me if you want to talk sometime as I have experience with these sandpit HOAs all over Nebraska along Platte, Elkhorn and Missouri River.

EDIT: I researched TM a bit more and found some studies stating Gshd are a preferred, soft rayed forage item for TM, so TM recommendation seems to be accurate. I still wonder if TM will be midlake chasing schools of Gshd, but one should defer to the scientific study not my gut instinct. Studies also stated TM prefer forage 30-35% their body length. Once TM enter the 30 - 40" range they would be capable of handling Gshd up to 10-14" but this still may leave largest adult Gshd invulnerable to TM predation. That's where the BC seem to play an important role preying upon larger adults and Carp, Buffalo and Gar. 3/AC seems a prudent stocking strategy. Colorado is using TM to control White Sucker populations in their reservoirs and have reported reducing WS biomass by 50% and TM are growing fast...obviously.

My recommendation would be HSB to focus on age 0, TM to focus on age 1+, and BC to focus on larger adults. Scott and Eric's gill net strategy should also be employed to periodically remove significant biomass of the adult fish largely invulnerable to predation. This combo strategy seems to offer the highest chance of success to manage the invasive species population. If you choose to harvest those collected fish via nets I know guys who could use frozen fillets to feed their apex predators...myself included. Feel free to reach out anytime!
Originally Posted by ewest
Agree with esshup - run a net to start removing unwanted fish. Shock boat will work also. You would need some very big predators to eat these GShad


[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


ewest,

If you can convince Whole Foods that Gizzard Shad are a rare and tasty delicacy, you will be a wealthy, wealthy, man!
Posted By: ewest Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/09/21 04:19 PM
Once had a co-worker (became a state legislator) who was absolutely certain that we could buy a ship load of watermelons in south MS and ship them to Japan and make a fortune. Maybe we could do that with GShad - to Japan.
Posted By: ewest Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/09/21 04:33 PM
Originally Posted by teehjaeh57
We experience this fishery type in sandpits near rivers in NE which have historically flooded. ... TM are ambush predators I believe they’d serve as a less effective management tool and would also inhabit similar habitat as your BG and LMB - both species you’d likely prefer not to be diminished through predation. ....

EDIT: I researched TM a bit more and found some studies stating Gshd are a preferred, soft rayed forage item for TM, so TM recommendation seems to be accurate. I still wonder if TM will be midlake chasing schools of Gshd, but one should defer to the scientific study not my gut instinct. Studies also stated TM prefer forage 30-35% their body length. Once TM enter the 30 - 40" range they would be capable of handling Gshd up to 10-14" but this still may leave largest adult Gshd invulnerable to TM predation. That's where the BC seem to play an important role preying upon larger adults and Carp, Buffalo and Gar. 3/AC seems a prudent stocking strategy. Colorado is using TM to control White Sucker populations in their reservoirs and have reported reducing WS biomass by 50% and TM are growing fast...obviously.

See red! . Not so fast my friend! I think your gut instinct is better in this case. In the studies you would have to examine just what the lake conditions were - the TM may not have had any option but to chase GShad. Also the population dynamics - the study lakes likely had a very large portion of available forage in GShad. Did the studies have the same situation as a pond/lake in question? My guess is the TM would go for the energetically best option first (BG &, LMB etc. ) . Then they would chase GShad in open water next.


Diets of Muskellunge in Northern Wisconsin Lakes
Michael A. Bozek
,
Thomas M. Burri
&
Richard V. Frie



Abstract
The muskellunge Esox masquinongy is an important sport fish in Wisconsin and elsewhere, but more information about its diet is needed to better understand its role in aquatic systems and its effects on other fish. Stomach contents were examined for 1,092 muskellunge (226–1,180 mm total length, TL) captured in the littoral zone from 34 Wisconsin water bodies from Jul 1991 to Oct 1994. Food occurred in 34.3% (N = 375) of the stomachs, with most (74%) containing a single item. Overall, the proportion of muskellunge with food differed significantly among seasons, with the greatest proportion occurring in fall (69.0%), followed by summer (53.5%) and then spring (25.4%). Prey items consisted of 547 fish, representing 12 families and 31 species, along with 35 nonfish items; fish composed 98% of the diet. Relative importance values of diet items varied by taxa, season, and water body, but the main food items eaten by muskellunge in each season were yellow perch Perca flavescens and white sucker Catostomous commersoni. Black basses Micropterus spp., northern pike Esox lucius, walleye Stizostedion vitreum, cyprinids, and other taxa were less common in the diet. Prey fish ranged in size from 6% to 47% of muskellunge total length and prey length increased significantly as muskellunge size increased. Yet the size of prey in proportion to muskellunge size remained the same for all sizes of muskellunge. The results of this study indicate that, if readily available, yellow perch and catostomids will compose a large proportion of the muskellunge diet. Additional studies assessing muskellunge diet among lakes having different prey community types and assessing diet in deeper offshore areas of lakes are needed to better understand the role that muskellunge play in aquatic communities.
Posted By: esshup Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/09/21 05:57 PM
I would love to find fish that would listen to me when I tell them to only eat "X" species.
Coming soon, Optimal "Unwanted Species" Pellets!

Feed your YOY predator fish on our specialized pellets to train them to prefer that taste when they mature. Please list the target unwanted species as well as your predator species when you place your order.

** Because these pellets are made from the fish protein of undesirable species, our prices are usually 40-60% lower than the prices on our more popular feeds.


/wishful thinking mode off
Seems absurd that people would eat gizzard shad, but I can remember back when catfish and crawfish were considered fit only for poor folks who didn't know better. Heck, redfish were thought trash fish in many quarters before Paul Prudhomme made blackening them popular in the 1980s!

I know efforts are being made to popularize carp. Biggest markets are overseas, but that might change. Even sea lampreys in Great Lakes are edible; eels are considered a delicacy in many cultures.
Posted By: ewest Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 12/13/21 04:40 PM
Meet an aquaculturist a few years back who provided an overview of feeding the world. They grew tilapia in several tropical locations (like catfish ponds) to the tune of 10,000 + lbs. per acre. He described the processing procedures - essentially grind up the whole fish and process into patties for human consumption.
I have a BIL that did a stint in the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic.

The project was to use Tilapia to add protein to the diet of subsistence farmers. The Peace Corps helped make shallow ponds suitable for Tilapia that were located between the villages and the crop fields.

The villagers were supposed to throw in some vegetation on their way to the fields, and then again on the way home to feed the Tilapia.

Unfortunately, the projects failed.
My brother tried something similar for poor villagers in Central America, only this involved planting mahogany and, in another area, coffee trees. Sadly, it failed due to lack of enforceable private property rights, as squatters simply took over & govt did little.

Basic economic tenet: Growth is difficult without private property rights.
I’m curious on the long term effects of the blue cats. With the channel catfish population being high and needing reduced would there be any worry about adding blue catfish to the equation and having them eventually grow to numbers that would begin to be detrimental? After they get shad under control through predation and larger shad dying to age what species would the blue cats likely target next. Would they take after crappie? We could likely use some control on crappie but would they target the larger crappie or other species? I’m not wanting to trade one catfish issue for another. Are they prolific eaters like flatheads that eats or kill whatever’s right by?
Posted By: esshup Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 02/12/22 06:36 PM
With the problems people here are having trying to source Blue Cats, I think you are much better off stocking the Hybrid Striped Bass and more Largemouth Bass along with the Tiger Muskies.

Since it's an old sandpit, how much spawning habitat is there for the Bass and Bluegills?

The easiest way to help control the numbers of rough fish and fish that you don't want to have in there would be a combination of gill nets and hoop/fyke nets. The gill nets could be run 2x daily and you'd get a LOT of carp/gizzard shad out, and you could turn loose any other fish that you didn't want to remove. The hoop/fyke nets do a great job on catfish.

The HSB would do well in there because they'd be occupying the same habitat as the Gizzard Shad. They aren't that expensive to stock, you could stock a bunch of 4" ones and they would grow fast. If you were here, it'd cost around $25-$30 to stock 10 Hybrid Striped Bass/acre.

If you wanted to target the carp and grow the BG bigger, put a Texas Hunter Fish Feeder on the dock and feed the fish. The Carp will get accustomed to the food and you can either bow fish them out or catch them on rod and reel. The Bluegill in the lake will also find the feeder and start feeding. The Largemouth (and HSB if you stock them) will also find the feeder. The HSB will eat some of the food, the LMB will eat the smaller fish that are coming to eat the food.
Posted By: nehunter Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 02/12/22 07:43 PM
Nebraska Lake Management out of Valparaiso, NE can get blue cat. Call soon they will come from down south with his other orders. I put some in my lake last year. Ordered the large 8 to 10 inchers in May, they were delivered in Nov. They were very nice fish, not many 8 inchers, some closer to 14. But he only gets what is pre ordered, so they come up with his other orders.
Also what I have read up on them. They like open water so they will eat what is out in the open first. They can gain 5 lbs a year if they have enough to eat. So they will get big fast and will want larger sized food. I am hoping they will help me with my common carp problem. Take into account I only know what I have read and that maybe from some one who doesn't really know what is right.
Posted By: esshup Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 02/12/22 11:02 PM
The Blues get BIG when given enough food. In the So. Cal impoundments where they stock RBT annually, the Blues will top 100#. For instance, in 2008 in the San Vicente Reservoir, a 113# 5 oz. Blue Cat was caught.
Originally Posted by esshup
The Blues get BIG when given enough food. In the So. Cal impoundments where they stock RBT annually, the Blues will top 100#. For instance, in 2008 in the San Vicente Reservoir, a 113# 5 oz. Blue Cat was caught.

Just think of how many thousands of dollars (pond pricing) of rainbow trout that Blue Cat ate in its lifetime!
I feed aquamax MVP by hand 2 x daily when able, had bluegill come and channel catfish come to the feed never had carp or bass come and eat. At least not from the surface. I shot shad and carp with my bow whenever I could. They aren’t crazy thick in there but they are definitely in there. I may switch to optimal this year after talking to TJ. I I’ve been wanting to get a feeder for consistency just haven’t yet. I was looking at the American feeder that’s constructed out of aluminum and endorsed by bill dance. Was thinking of getting one of those through Troy Goldsby who originally messaged me about them. I haven’t seen reviews of them yet as they are newer feeder but like that they come with the solar charger etc that is extra purchase through Texas hunter feeders. They are only slightly cheaper than TH maybe $100 less. I’ll have to see. I’m on a budget and want to make a lot of artificial pvc structure as well. Hopefully I get on our HOA board next week and convince them to listen to TJ and have him guide us to a healthier more productive pond.
Ice has been off for about 2-3 days now and i curiously tossed some
Food out and had about a half dozen BG eat it on the surface. I was very surprised for the temps we have.
I have No experience with gill nets, when looking to purchase for this purpose and recommendations would help. I wouldn’t need one longer than 30’ or deeper than 5’. What brand and specs as far as line thickness and type and mesh size would I need if I were to go this route.
Posted By: esshup Re: Stocking advice for shad & carp control - 02/13/22 08:49 PM
Originally Posted by Mark Dyer
I have No experience with gill nets, when looking to purchase for this purpose and recommendations would help. I wouldn’t need one longer than 30’ or deeper than 5’. What brand and specs as far as line thickness and type and mesh size would I need if I were to go this route.

I would call some of the net companies and ask them for recommendations. As for feeders, we have tried and sold a LOT of different brands. A LOT. Finally decided that the PITA factor of working on the cheaper ones when something breaks or the raccoons get to tearing up isn't worth the difference in price between them and the TH feeders.

Some feeders you have to completely disassemble, remove duct tape, etc. to get to where the feed jammed. We've had TH a feeder get completely submerged about 10 years ago for 2 days. Got it out of the water, washed all the wet food out (couple hundred pounds worth), opened them up, rinsed everything off with a hose, and put in front of a fan for a day. Replaced battery and timer and it's still working today.
© Pond Boss Forum